12 November 2006


Sometimes in the mornings, my eyes just snap wide open. I'm awake. I mean that I am really awake -- the body is telling me there is no rolling over and returning to sleep. That happened this morning at 4:00am. So I stumbled out to the kitchen and flipped the switch on the coffeemaker from "Auto" to "On". As I waited for the coffee to brew, I checked the weather: cold and windy. And RAIN? Brrrr. I poured my first cup of coffee and started to work on LittleSister's Christmas present. Shhhh. It's a secret and she reads my blog so I can't say what it is. Suffice it to say, it has texture. Ahh, you were wondering about why this post is titled "Texture", now weren't you?

Texture: ('teks-cher) the visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance of something.

In knitting or crochet, creating texture is easy. It's inherent to yarn. It's tactile. Deeper texture can be created by a simple series of knit 2 purl 2, or yarn overs and decreases.

In quilting, how is texture created?

The first way to create texture is by the visual appeal. What I mean by this is by what is printed on the fabric that you choose. The visual texture of a reproduction print is very different than the visual texture of a batik or hand-dyed fabric. You can change the visual texture of a quilt just by choosing different types of fabrics.

The second way, of course, is created by the quilting stitches. There is a tactile sensation when you run your hand over the quilting.

But have you ever tried to create texture another way? I can think of two ways. An obvious one is to add more texture by changing the type of fabric. If you are making an art quilt or wall hanging or even a crazy quilt, then you can add organza and fake fur because these quilts are typically not washed. But what if you're making a bed quilt? Have you ever thought of adding tucks on purpose (LOL! I sometimes do it unconsciously). Or pleating? gathering? smocking? puffing? All of these techniques and others can add tactile texture to a quilt using cotton fabric.

All of these techniques can be found in heirloom sewing and garment construction and I encourage you to explore them. They can make some exciting additions to a quilt.


  1. Hi Paula, I just found your blog. :) And the way I found it was the comment you left on Nancy's blog...LOL...would you mind posting a detailed description of the shades that you made for your bedroom? I need something...am pattern challenged LOL...but don't know exactly what it is I'm looking for in the bedroom. :) I'm off to peruse your blog now. :D

  2. Applique adds another dimension to quilting that can be perceived as texture. I like using wool for applique because it's easy to work with, forgiving and adds a different feel to the hand on the completed top.

  3. Libby, that's a good point. Thank you!

  4. Funny you should ask.....I've been asked to make a wall hanging out of a wedding dress (white on white on white) and am thinking about manipulating the fabric to add interest....

  5. You have made some points worth thinking about. I think I'm going to plan a quilt with texture. Thanks for giving something to think about.

  6. I've seen some textured quilts on a show they had on PBS. I don't remember the lady, but she went to the attic to show an heirloom at the end of each show. I'm going to have to dig out my old tapes to see if maybe I might have taped a couple. She was a regular sewer, but also made quilts. I love that heirloom sewing - they make quite exciting quilts.